You don’t have to control your thoughts; you just need to stop letting them control you.

-Dan Millman

 

The BrainLids Method©

Eradicate your inner critic using brain science.

Copyright © 2018 by Lidia Obregon

 

 

This is the second step of The BrainLids Method©. If you haven’t read Step 1 yet, go read it first. If you don’t, this will make absolutely no sense and you’ll think I’m crazy and obsessed with frosting.

 

(maybe I am)

 

A quick recap…

 

Step 1: Be aware.
The frosting is white, not red.

 

Why should I do that?

Because if you want to change something about your brain, you must first admit that you are aware of what is happening. Once you become aware, that thing immediately begins to weaken and can eventually be fully eradicated.

 

How do I do that?

You tell yourself out loud:

 

  • “I am aware that I am not my inner critic.”

  • “I am aware that I have been dyed with the poison of the inner critic.”

  • “I am aware that my brain was not meant to be in a red, scared, demeaning state, but rather in a white, supportive, loving state.”

  • “I am aware that when I am mean to myself or I am scared and anxious, it is the inner critic’s red poison talking, not the real me.”

  • “I am aware that I am capable of eradicating my inner critic.”

  • “I am aware that I am capable of eradicating these negative thoughts.”

  • “I am aware that I have the power to change my brain’s bias from a negative one to a positive one.”

  • “I can, and I will do all these things.”

Why does this step work in the brain?

1. Your brain’s superpower is its ability to change itself (a.k.a. brain plasticity). The more you repeat or “fire” certain thoughts in your brain, the more they will be “wired”. The more they are wired, the more you will hear them play in your head.

2. Our brain’s have evolved to focus more on the NEGATIVE aspects of our environment (a.k.a. negativity bias). Our ancestors had to do this to stay alive and reproduce. We are now stuck with the same brains. So it is VERY easy to fall into the red poison trap and focus on all the negative words/thoughts we hear and tell ourselves. 

3. The more we “fire” these thoughts of awareness, the more they will wire themselves in our head. The more they are wired in our head, the more these positive, healthy thoughts will play in our head. The more they play, the greater the chance of eradicating our inner critic and making happiness our default brain state.

 

Keep in mind:

 

    • The white frosting: your original, pure, healthy & happy brain free of the inner critic.

    • The red food dye: the inner critic’s poison.

    • The red frosting: your brain dyed by the inner critic’s poison.

    • The whisk: that CEO inner voice that you use to talk to yourself every day.

 

Without further ado…

 

Step 2: Separate.

Take your whisk out.

 

So you’ve completed step 1 and know that indeed, you are NOT the red frosting. You are aware now that the inner critic in your head is NOT the real you (you are the white frosting). You are aware now that you can change your brain and you can eradicate your inner critic.

 

Let’s say you’re at a networking event with a bunch of professionals in your industry who have all done incredible things and are just all-around, kick-ass people. Someone asks you what you do for a living, and you shyly tell them about your new business. A few seconds afterward, the thought “I’m not good enough to be here” drops into your head. When you “whisk at it“, it’ll look something like this:

 

“I’m not good enough to be here”

 

“Everyone is better than me”

 

“I don’t even know what I’m doing”

 

“Maybe I should just leave”

 

“Why do I always do this to myself”

 

“I’m never going to be good enough”

 

Now hold up… not a single person in the room said that to you. You just whisked away so damn hard at the red poison that was dropped into your frosting.

 

After nailing step 2 though… it’ll look something like this:

 

“I’m not good enough to be here”

 

“Oh hey there red poison”

 

“I see you”

 

“But I’m just choosing not to whisk at you”

 

“Feel free to hang in my white frosting all you want”

 

“But I know I am good enough and I don’t speak to myself that way”

 

 

Like I said in Step 1, the problem isn’t that we have all these poisonous, negative thoughts spiraling through our head all day long… The problem is that we WHISK at them. So stop it. Take the whisk out. Stop entertaining the red poison. 

 

In order to really get all of that garbage red poison out of your head, we have to first get out of the red frosting. Right now, you are stuck deep in the red frosting. You can’t see out of it and your head is a scary place to be alone in. But once you 1) be aware and 2) separate, we can finally come to a “safe place” to look at what the hell is goin’ on up in there and get it out.

 

So what to do.

 

Every single time you catch yourself saying something mean to yourself, replaying a bad memory, or getting stuck in overthinking (a.k.a. anything that doesn’t make you feel good), I want you to literally envision yourself taking the whisk out of your head. Out of the red frosting. Stop and tell yourself: 

 

1. “I am aware that I am not the red poison that is in my brain right now.”

 

2. “I am now taking the whisk out of the red frosting and am no longer caught in the middle of it.”

 

The whisk is the CEO voice that is in charge. It is the clear-headed, healthy voice that often gets turned to volume 1 for most of our lives. But not for you guys. Your CEO whisks are in charge. 

 

The only reason we drown in the red poison— the negative self-talk, negative thoughts, or overthinking— is because we keep whisking. We give the negative words and thoughts all of our attention and we whisk away at them for years and years. Sometimes it can be extremely hard to convince yourself that you are separate from the red poison. It can be extremely hard to take your whisk out. But our brain is like a muscle. The more you continue to 1) become aware and 2) separate yourself from the red poison, the easier and easier it’ll get each time. As you strengthen your ability to separate yourself from the red poison, it will weaken its grips on you. 

 

Now in addition to the visualization of taking your whisk out, I recommend you do two other things to be better at separating in step 2:

 

1. meditate

 

2. forgive yourself

 

 

 

Meditating

 

I know that meditation isn’t yet an every day habit for most people. But I genuinely believe meditation is going to become a habit as commonplace as brushing your teeth.

 

Why meditation is so helpful for step 2 is because its like a training session. Essentially what you are doing in meditation is practicing sitting with your bowl of red frosting and taking your whisk out again, and again, and again…

 

We meditate to separate. Separate ourselves from the crappy thoughts that make us feel bad. I’m not asking you to suddenly sit there breathing for 20 minutes a day every day. That’s extremely unrealistic and you will never do it. All I suggest you do is one minute. That’s it. Anyone can do one lousy minute. Eventually, you’ll work your way up to 5 minutes. (or not, up to you). When you meditate, simply sit on a floor or the chair by yourself in a quiet room and practice:

 

1. being aware: notice when the red poison is in your frosting

 

2. separating: take your whisk out and remember you are not the red frosting. you are the white frosting.

 

The reason meditation works is because we are strengthening the part of the brain that is responsible for regulating our emotions and directing our attention, called the prefrontal cortex (or PFC). Researchers have taken brain scans of advanced meditators and found that their PFC literally grew in size. This means they are straight-up wizards when it comes to taking their whisks out when confronted with red poison.

You can be a wizard too, Harry.

 

If you have a lot of anxiety or if your brain is really scary place to be in right now, I recommend downloading the Headspace app (it’s free) and using their guided meditation. The guy’s voice is angelic as hell and the graphics are out of this world. It’ll help you be introduced to a new practice really comfortably.

 

 

Forgiving yourself

I know it’s cheesy, but I had to mention it. Sometimes it’s going to be hard and sad when you realize you’ve been caught in the red frosting, ingesting all the red poison for way too long. Don’t get mad at yourself when you reach this point. Guilt, shame, and blame will only slow you down and feed the red poison.

 

Forgive yourself. It’ll take time to become a whisk-removing wizard and that’s okay. 

 

Remember… you are literally “fighting” against evolution when rewiring your brain. You are doing super-human things. Super-human things take time and patience.

 

What if I don’t like frosting?

 

There are a couple other metaphors I like to use when I’m completing step 2 of “separating”.

First, the bubbles (or the clouds).

It’s very simple. You can think of negative words/thoughts as bubbles or clouds floating by. Bubbles will pop soon anyways. Clouds will float away and eventually dissipate. What’s the point of chasing after and holding on to a bubble or a cloud…

Second, the person next to me.

It’s just as simple. When the “I’m not smart enough” thought crosses your mind, just pretend like it’s not coming from your mind. Pretend the thought is coming from the imaginary person next to you. Would you get all worked up and upset at that person for thinking that about themselves? Probably not. So why get upset at a thought that wasn’t even yours to begin with? I know that thought isn’t yours because it doesn’t make you feel good. Anything that is truly yours will make you feel good.

 

 

Recap

 

Step 2: Separate.
Take your whisk out.

 

Why should I do that?

Because in order to get the garbage red poison out of your head, you must first stop drowning in the red frosting and see it from above. 

 

How do I do that?

  • You take your whisk out. Every time you catch yourself saying something mean to yourself, replaying a bad memory, or getting stuck in overthinking, you say:

“I am aware that I am not the red poison that is in my brain right now.”

“I am taking the whisk out of the red frosting and am no longer caught in the middle of it.”

  •  you meditate

  • you forgive yourself

Why does this step work in the brain?

1. Your prefrontal cortex decides what is important by how much attention you pay to something. If you keep whisking at the negative thoughts in your head, your brain will think its important and it will keep going. If someone says something mean and it feels like a threat, it causes your stress hormones to start flooding your body because your brain thinks it needs to protect you. The stress hormones could start flaring up your anxiety, which will then convince your brain it needs to further analyze the situation. (a.k.a. you will whisk and whisk and whisk…)

2. By separating from the red frosting by taking your whisk out and realizing you have been infected with red poison, you are training your brain to see the mean words/thoughts no longer as a threat, but as something to be observed. Your prefrontal cortex gets stronger the more you “take your whisk out”. Meditation also strengthens this part of your brain and allows for more and more separation between your whisk and the red-poisoned frosting.

 

 

So how do you control your thoughts?

You don’t. You just don’t give them attention. You stop whisking. You take your whisk out.

As always, the choice is yours.

 

More baking to come

So we’ve completed Steps 1 and 2. Steps 3 and 4 are the meat of the method. They’re where the magic happens. Steps 5 and 6 are where we perfect the magic. Where we become the wizards. 

Keep an eye out for the rest of The BrainLids Method© , my friends. I hope these serve you well. If you’re confused or want more help with whisking, please feel let me know. I clearly love this metaphor and would love to help you out.

 

Until next time.

-Lids